100 Years Ago
There’s a note in the Phillies Media Guide about opening day in Phillies history: “In 1907, the New York Giants forfeited the opener to the Phillies at the Polo Grounds.”
Jim Gates, the Librarian at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, was kind enough to dig through the files and provide some old newspaper clippings that shed some light on the incident that took place 100 years ago.
The season opener was on April 11, a cold day in New York. The Polo Grounds was home to the New York Giants.
According to the clippings, “the crowd surged on the field during the second half of the eighth inning with the Phillies leading, 3-0. Umpire Klem waited 15 minutes and then forfeited the game to the Phillies.”
One other clipping described it as “the demonstration turned into a good-natured jollification.”
It turns out that there were no policemen or “roundsmen” in the park. “Commissioner Bingham had taken the stand his bluecoats must not enter the grounds unless something made their presence necessary to preserve order. He says the club must hire its own force. It is probable arrangements to that effect will be made by the club,” according to the clipping.
Cold had gripped the much of the country then as it has this week. It apparently had snowed the day before as the article said, “mountainous heaps of snow were around the edges of the field.”
According to another clipping, “Very cold weather, with the thermometer down almost to zero, was experienced in some cities, but every game was snappy and full of life.”
Some interesting notes from the clippings:
**“A conspicuous absentee was Manager McGraw, who is sick with grip.”
**“Cap Anson tossed the first ball (Cubs opener), after having presented the local players with umbrellas, a gift from the members of the Board of Trade.”
**“Umpire Sheridan worked in a heavy overcoat (in Detroit).”